Wednesday April 23, 2014

Scripps had its upfronts in New York last night.  This covers networks such as HGTV, DIY, Food Network, Travel Channel, etc.  Some of the new offerings are set forth below.  I guess my first question is what brand is HGTV/DIY trying to morph into?  Are they looking to become MTV/VH1?  These were networks that provided entertaining and very informative programming about home improvement, home buying, etc.  Now (and you'll see below), it's become a network that is taking great pride on luring stars of all shapes and sizes to its net, bringing with them a level of UNauthenticity that is quite disheartening.  The only silver lining, as I see it, is that this push toward inane celebrity-fronted shows will conceivably open the door for others to launch networks that bring the viewer back to what it tuned in for in the first place.

The big announcement from HGTV is a new show with none other than Ellen DeGeneres.  Per Deadline, "[t]he six-episode series — Ellen DeGeneres‘ first on cable television — is titled Ellen’s Design Challenge and scheduled to premiere in 2015. It will feature six contestants tasked with designing and building furniture in 24 hours with the help of a carpenter. There also will be a six-part online companion series. “I’m so excited about this show because I love finding really special pieces of furniture,” DeGeneres said. “One time I found a beautiful one-of-a-kind armoire that spoke to me in a way I’d never experienced. It turned out there was a drifter living inside of it, but that’s a story for another time.” DeGeneres’ production company, A Very Good Production, is producing with A. Smith & Co. in association with Telepictures, a division of Warner Bros. TV where DeGeneres’ company is based."

Other HGTV winners include: The Jennie Garth Project, which will premiere in September and will follow single mom and actress Jennie Garth, star of Beverly Hills, 90210, as she renovates a dated Hollywood Hills, Calif. house for herself and her three daughters. In July, comes Flipping the Block, starring HGTV and DIY experts including David Bromstad, Nicole Curtis (Rehab Addict) and Scott McGillivray (Income Property). In November, Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott, aka the stars of Property Brothers, Buying & Selling and Brother vs. Brother, will tackle their biggest renovation challenge ever in Property Brothers: Behind Our Build (wt)--a series that captures how they manage the highs and lows that come with updating their own family's Las Vegas retreat. And FYI, there's a third bro who'll be joining the family business. 

Here's Food Network's list of new shows (some of which we already knew about):


Kitchen Casino
Series Premiere: April 7, 2014
Hosted by Bill Rancic, Kitchen Casino ups the ante of cooking competitions, bringing together four talented chefs in a high-stakes game of chance that is all about skill, speed and adaptability. With one eye on the ticking clock, competitors have to out-cook and out-smart their competition in three casino-themed challenges – slots, poker and roulette — for a chance to win a $30,000 jackpot. These accomplished chefs must make magic with whatever Lady Luck puts in front of them, and they must double-down on their skills or risk being 86′d. Place your bets! 

America’s Best Cook
Series Premiere: April 13, 2014
In this new series hosted by Ted Allen, four Food Network chefs, Cat Cora, Tyler Florence, Alex Guarnaschelli and Michael Symon, each representing a different region of the country, choose two home cooks to compete on their team and battle through a succession of difficult challenges. The coaches dedicate themselves to developing their team and mentoring their cooks, because if their cooks go home, so do they. Everything is on the line in the search to find America’s Best Cook

Series Premiere: April 21, 2014
New series, Rewrapped, challenges three chefs to recreate, as closely as possible, some of America’s favorite guilty pleasures, and then invent an entirely new dish using the original treat as an ingredient. Hosted by Joey Fatone and led by head judge, Marc Summers, an expert panel of judges determines the winner based on taste, texture, and likeness to the original product. Along with bragging rights, the winner also receives a year’s supply of that episode’s well-known food. 

American Festivals (wt)
Series Premiere: July 2014
Every year, dozens of food festivals are held across the U.S. From Maine to New Mexico, these uniquely American festivals draw huge, enthusiastic crowds. Some showcase foods from a specific region and are all about local pride; others simply feature food that’s as American as apple pie. Join host, Anthony Anderson, as he travels to the most colorful and delicious festivals in America, meeting the amazing characters behind each one and tasting a variety of unique and delicious dishes along the way. 

Boss Under Fire (wt)
Series Premiere: July 2014
The restaurant business is a cutthroat pressure cooker where every moment counts and failure is always right around the corner. With success rates at less than 50%, there is a wide range of reasons that can cause closures, but sometimes it is not the food, the location, or the employees. Sometimes it is the boss. Restaurants nominate their terrible bosses for a makeover and the owner must perform his employees’ jobs to realize that success starts at the top. 

Game of Cones (wt)
Series Premiere: July 2014
In Game of Cones, ice cream connoisseurs compete to create the most unique and delectable ice cream-based desserts using a selection of mystery ingredients. It is up to the skilled competitors to use their wits and creativity to make an incredible ice cream treat using an array of seemingly incompatible flavors. After three heart-pounding elimination challenges, one of four aspiring ice cream makers will be left standing as victor of this Game of Cones

Undercover Critics
Series Premiere: July 2014
In this series, restaurant critics are armed with hidden cameras, looking to unveil the good, the bad and the ugly of established restaurants. Undercover Critics gives the owners a second chance to improve on their faults and flaws before any review is actually published. After visiting the restaurant, the Undercover Critics reveal themselves, letting the owner know about the visit and hand over the ‘would-be/could-be’ negative review. With a laundry list of things to fix, the owners do whatever it takes to turn a bad review into a great one before it hits the press. 

The Big Tip
Series Premiere: August 2014
All across America there are hardworking and deserving waiters and waitresses who have been serving communities for years. Now, Rachael Ray is on a mission to give back to them. In each episode, Rachael travels to one town to meet three incredible and deserving people. Each of them will get a life-changing tip – but only one will get The Big Tip

American Diner Revival
Series Premiere: September 2014
Diners are an American institution, but they’re struggling to stay alive. Join the host of American Diner Revival as hearrives in town with only three days to revive a cherished diner in desperate need of a makeover. He doesn’t arrive with a construction team in tow, but instead is hitting the ground to connect with locals who have a personal connection to the diner and rally them to help makeover their community’s own beloved diner. But this is an ambush, which means he has to gather all his intel undercover and figure out how to lure the owner away long enough to get the work done. One man is on a mission to prove that towns across America have the power to revive their own diners, they just don’t know it yet! 

Diner Death Match (wt)
Series Premiere: September 2014
Diner Death Match features four competitive cooks from North America’s best diners, gastropubs and food trucks as they go head-to-head in a series of culinary challenges. To win they will have to out-cook each other in three short-order classic diner challenges: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After each round, one competitor is eliminated, and the last cook standing walks away with a cash prize. 

Food Truck Face Off
Series Premiere: September 2014
Food Truck Face Off, hosted by Jesse Palmer, pits two teams against one another to win the ultimate prize – a customized food truck for one year. After presenting their unique concept to an expert panel of judges, two teams are chosen to face off in a truck-on-truck showdown. In the end, the team that earns the most profit emerges victorious. P

New Food Challenge Show (wt)
Series Premiere: September 2014
Your favorite competitive food series returns with surprising twists and bigger builds! In each standalone episode, four teams of competitors will bake, cook and build their way out of unique culinary challenges. From giant wedding cakes to life-like sugar sculptures to man-sized pastries, the creations will blow you away until one competitor reigns supreme. 

Burnt (wt)
Series Premiere: October 2014
Burnt is a competition that combines strategy, head-to-head cook-offs, and a big prize for the winning chef. The objective in each episode is to navigate through four rounds of one-on-one chef challenges using cunning and culinary skills to claim the cash prize of up to $20,000. At the heart of the show is the guiding principle that one chef will be in control of who plays or sits out the series of chef vs. chef eliminations, with each round providing a cumulative cash prize. Competitors must conquer all challenges laid before them or face the consequence of getting Burnt

Rapid Fire Restaurant (wt)
Series Premiere: October 2014
Go behind the scenes with restaurateur hopefuls as they look to purchase and launch their first restaurant ever. The catch? They have absolutely no idea what they’re doing! Hosted by brothers Chad Rosenthal (Food Network Star Season 9 competitor)and Reid Rosenthal, each episode will feature a unique group of individuals with a dollar and a dream who are looking to open their first restaurant. While each aspirant has basic broad ideas on what they’re looking to do, they’re ill-informed on the finer points of restaurant realty, decoration, marketing, business, and of course, food. That’s where Reid and Chad come in. Reid is an award-winning realtor who is unparalleled in the hospitality space, while his brother Chad is a self-made restaurateur. Together, they are the ultimate yin and yang of the restaurant industry. 

Great Holiday Bake-Off (wt)
Series Premiere: November 2014
The search is on to find the greatest holiday baker of all as eight amateur bakers enter the “Holiday Kitchen.” More than anything, these competitors love to bake, but in order to survive week-to-week each must demonstrate that their baking skills are broad enough to carry them into the finale where one will become the first Great Holiday Bake-Off “Grand Champion.” From cookie exchanges, to holiday pies, to yule logs and gingerbread houses, these bakers will show off their skills, their favorite family recipes and also their ability to improvise sweets challenge after challenge. This bake-off is the most delicious and sweetest way to celebrate the holiday season. 

Headset Cook Off (wt)
Series Premiere: Q4 2014
In this new series, two professional chefs are hitting the streets in search of a team of two people who cannot cook. These unsuspecting teams can be made up of a husband and wife, two friends, or even a parent/child duo. Once each chef has selected their team, they must race back to the kitchen with their contestants in tow. Over two rounds the two teams will have to construct two complex dishes but there is one major hitch – our professional chefs must recreate each dish guided step-by-step by their chosen team over headset. It’s a game of skill, know-how and most of all communication! 


The Valerie Bertinelli Project (wt) set for a September premiere. It features the Hot In Cleveland star and bestselling cookbook author and her husband preparing dinners for family and celebrity friends in their Los Angeles home. 

Bobby’s Grilling Guide (wt)
Series Premiere: June 2014
Quintessential grill master, Bobby Flay, takes grilling to a whole new level in new series, Bobby’s Grilling Guide. Bobby showcases his expert grilling techniques in this 1-2-3 guide to grilling, breaking down the basics and demonstrating the best tips and tricks for grilling to perfection. 

The Daphne Brogdon Project (wt)
Series Premiere: October 2014
Mom, wife, and home cook, Daphne Brogdon, brings a fresh, fun and humorous approach to feeding the family. Whether it is for a PTA meeting or a gals’ night in, Daphne cooks up a storm with simple recipes that will feed a crowd and bring the family together. 

Jared Dostie

Jared Dostie

Ask and you shall receive, check out Save My Bakery on Food Network before that show goes away and you're forced to live with all of the above garbage!

As for Travel Channel's complete new slate of shows in development:

Series In Development (brief descriptions, in alphabetical order):

Adventure Capitalists (wt) follows a team of three investors, as they travel across the country to survey the hottest destinations. Once there, these savvy business experts look to invest in local hotels, restaurants and shops. Three businesses pitch the team, but only one is chosen. 

Breaking Borders (wt) pairs Peabody Award-winning correspondent Mariana van Zeller with celebrated chef Michael Voltaggio as they travel into well-known conflict zones, to uncover and elevate the personal stories, perspectives and rich cultures from both sides of the conflict. Van Zeller and Voltaggio share a simple, but unique goal: to gather people from both sides of the conflict for an amazing meal and an animated discussion, where on a human level, they might just find some common ground. 

Find My Past (wt) is a hosted series that follows Americans on a journey to breathtaking locations throughout the world as they uncover their very personal connection to history’s most extraordinary events. Traveling across the world from one incredible location to another, each individual will get a chance to walk in their ancestors’ footsteps. By journey’s end, everything is revealed, and the historical impact of their ancestors’ lives will come into clear and striking focus. 

Guiding Alaska (wt) features an ensemble cast who takes viewers on an excursion to one of Alaska’s most elite and remote wilderness resorts. Located 300 miles from civilization, the world famous Tikchik Lodge and its experienced and eccentric crew, welcome the challenge of serving and satisfying its guests with exhilarating outdoor adventures and world-class cuisine. This is Alaska, where contending with the dynamic, untamed and at times almost insurmountable wilderness goes hand in hand. 

Metropolis (wt) spotlights iconic cities around the world with the goal of reimagining everything travelers know about them. From hidden secrets to signature foods to cultural idiosyncrasies, viewers are granted extraordinary access to each location through stunning 3D graphics and stylized re-enactments. 

Nigel’s Last Resort (wt) follows luxury resort developer Nigel Franklyn as he explores the world’s most extreme and unique hot spots, discovering all the outlandish ways people relax and pamper themselves. Franklyn immerses himself in once-in-a-lifetime experiences including bathing in a giant tub full of beer, living like a gladiator in a resort next to the Roman coliseum and getting massaged by giant snakes in Israel. 

Only In… (wt) takes viewers on a crazy and visual ride around the globe to discover the places, people and events that are so unique, they can only be experienced side by side with the locals. Venture far off the beaten path and experience amazing cultures that have long captured the imagination, from robot waiters serving dinner in Tokyo to runners competing in a minus-50-degree Ice Marathon on frozen Lake Baikal in Russia. 

Watt’s World (wt) chronicles reporter and journalist Nick Watt during his travels across the world, discovering all that is strange and beautiful about our surprising planet and its sub-cultures. Having spent years as an overseas correspondent for ABC in such places as London, Afghanistan and Iraq, Watt’s inquisitive nature enables him to truly dig deep, unearthing unique and provocative stories on his journeys. 

Check out Stephen Colbert on Letterman last night:

From Deadline, "Mitch Hurwitz is staying in the Netflix fold with a multi-year deal, a rare pact with a writer-producer for the streaming giant. Under the multi-tier agreement, the Arrested Development creator will create and produce new original series for the Internet TV network through his banner The Hurwitz Company. Additionally, he will develop projects with other creators as a non-writing executive producer and will consult for Netflix on comedy series. Hurwitz first worked with Netflix on a new season of his Emmy-winning comedy series Arrested Development, which was released last year. 'We are lucky to be in business with Mitch Hurwitz, a true genius with one of the most distinctive voices in comedy today,' said Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. 'Mitch’s inventive approach to Arrested Development — one of the top TV comedies of this generation — was ahead of its time, and we’re fortunate to have him on our team.'”

"The classic Peeps marshmallow candies could be making the leap from Easter baskets to the big screen via filmmaker Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City, Underdog), who has optioned film and TV rights to the sugary confections along with his producing partners Brent Tinter and Brian E. Rochlin. Bethlehem, PA-based candy company Just Born moves $2 billion of the baby chicks and bunny-shaped treats a year domestically and has started to branch out into Peeps-themed merchandising in recent years. The company sprung for a full-length animation feature pitch from Rifkin & Co. to adapt Peeps into a Lego Movie-esque family epic set the night before a Peeps diorama contest, when a wayward Peep gets misplaced and must adventure through the fantasy lands of different-themed dioramas before the contest’s judging begins."

An interview with New Girl's Max Greenfield.

HBO will be streaming shows on Amazon Prime.

More on Laura Prepon's commitment to remaining a part of Orange Is The New Black.  And here's a clip of the first scene of season 2.

Here's USA network's summer schedule (a few gems in there):


Royal Pains (June 10, 9-10 p.m.)
Covert Affairs (June 24, 10-11 p.m.)


Suits (June 11, 9-10 p.m.)
Graceland (June 11, 10-11 p.m.)

Rush (July 17, 9-10 p.m.)
Satisfaction (July 17, 10-11 p.m.)